How Many People Can Earth Support With Swedish Life Style Coelacanth Gets Its Genome Unravelled

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Coelacanth Gets Its Genome Unravelled

Genome Analysis suggests that Coelacanth may not be related to Tetrapods

The genome of one of the most extraordinary and enigmatic of all vertebrates known to science, the Coelacanth, has been determined to reveal how this animal could remain unchanged as a species for millions of years. The records also help oceanographers and palaeontologists to understand how well the Coelacanth group could have made the first land life with seals. bone.

A “Living Fossil” from the Time of Dinosaurs

Known as “living bones” by many lay people, two named species are known, one from the waters around Indonesia and the second from the Indian Ocean. The Coelacanth is a member of the Actinistian group of fish, the first of the meat-finned fish with their distinctive tails with three lobes may have evolved in the Devonian geological period. The last of the Coelacanths were believed to have gone extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period, that is until one was caught by a fishing trawler off the east coast of South Africa in 1938.

Sometimes, specimens of this deep-water fish are caught, although marine scientists have expressed concern about the fate of this unusual animal due to overfishing and the construction of ports on the ports of the Indian Ocean threatens their lives.

Genome of the Coelacanth Study

With the genome sequenced, scientists are able to understand a little more about how this fish interacts with other higher teleost fish and also gain insight into the evolution of land- living vertebrates, an important period in the evolution of life on earth. As this led eventually to the evolution of amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and of course, our species.

The International Team of Research Associates in Genome Research

An international team of researchers including some from the Broad Institute of MIT (Harvard, USA), from Uppsala University (Sweden) and Washington University (United States) have sequenced and analyzed nearly 3 billion the alphabet connected by DNA. of Coelacanth and analyzed RNA from both African and Indonesian species. They then compared this information to the genomes of twenty other vertebrate species including representatives of the lungfish family. Comparison of lungfish will hopefully shed light on the origin of Tetrapods – are they more closely related to Actinistians (Coelacanths) or Dipnoans (lungfishes)?

Lungfish Related to Tetrapods

This study, published in the academic journal “Nature” shows that the lungs have more genes in common with Tetrapods than the Coelacanth. It can be deduced from these results that the Actinistians, i.e. the Coelacanths that are the representatives of this group, are not related to the first animals that dragged themselves to the land.

A Sense of Movement from Water to Land

The genome of the Coelacanth also provides scientists with more information about how genes may change over time. The study suggests that some genes may have evolved slowly, which may in part help explain this prehistoric fish, which has not changed for millions of years. Such stable genetics can be attributed to the Coelacanth’s habitat and lifestyle. It lives in the deep ocean, mostly at a depth of more than 300 meters. It can live in the sea cave and it is very big during the day, and then go hunting at night. The environment is the same and there are no other fish species competing for a special niche in the coastal area can explain why the Coelacanth does not need to change and evolve in the long term.

The international team of scientists admits that there is much more to learn about the transition of vertebrates from water to land. However, the lungfish genome represents more challenges than that of the Coelacanth. Although collecting samples from the lungs is easier, after all, lungfish are all freshwater fish, making them easy to collect, the lungfish genome is larger, approx. more than 100 billion letters (CGAT), long. The small size of the genome of the Coelacanth that remains allows scientists to study the evolution that may have helped the first Tetrapods to adapt to the terrestrial environment. Comparisons with Tetrapods allowed researchers to isolate the genes that control and regulate other parts of the system, these were studied together with the analysis of the genes present in the Coelacanth but absent in Tetrapods has caused some surprise.

Effects on Terrestrial Life

A number of immune-related differences have been identified between Coelacanths and terrestrial mammals. The researchers reported that these changes are related to evolution as a result of the first new organisms Tetrapods encountered as semi-aquatic vertebrates. Other differences between genomes provide clues to cognitive development, a sense such as the bottom line in fish does not apply much to animals that live on land. Genes related to the sense of smell and the perception of odors in the air have been identified by this study.

Understanding How Hands and Feet Evolved

Similarities in genetic material have also been found between the marine Coelacanth and all land-dwelling animals. The HoxD strand of genetic material is common in Coelacanths and Tetrapods. It is likely that this particular genetic material was a prerequisite in order for the first land animals to develop hands and feet, helping with locomotion, but as Tetrapods changed growing and becoming more specialized, this area of ​​genetic material plays a role in evolution. of our own dexterous, tool wielding hands.

Solving the Problem of How to Get Rid of Excess Nitrogen

One of the most unusual ways to move to life on land is the way in which bodily waste is excreted. Fish release ammonia into the water, this removes nitrogen waste. Animals have evolved a way to convert ammonia into less urea – the urea cycle, where ammonia is converted to more inert urea, or uric acid. If ammonia is allowed to build up in the cells it will prove toxic to the cell, scientists found that the most important gene involved in the regulation and control of urea or uric acid production was modified and present in Tetrapods.

Commenting on the study, Chris Amemiya (Professor at the University of Washington), said that this particular study is just the beginning of many projects on Coelacanths. He predicted that the Coelacanth could teach scientists about the evolution of land animals (vertebrates). This study in itself opens up new ways to help students gain an understanding of the evolutionary processes involved in moving from water in the vertebrate body to a which can survive in the very difficult environment of land life.

Support the conservation of the Coelacanth

This research has brought together many institutions and universities, it is a truly international effort and it is hoped that the publication of the genome will help raise the profile of conservation effort to help the survival of the Coelacanth. A second group of scientists, jointly from the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity and the French National Museum of Natural History was set up earlier this month to explore the sea limited cave population of Coelacanths in the Sodwana Bay area (off the coast of South Africa). By studying the Coelacanth in its natural habitat, scientists hope to learn more about how these exotic animals use their fins for locomotion and how they hunt and what prey they are. favorite food.

Scientists responsible for genome research, acknowledge the importance of their work but also acknowledge that there is much more to learn when it comes to “living fossils”. Future studies will help shed more light on the pivotal moment in the history of life on Earth when vertebrates first migrated to land.

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